My heroines are sometimes so much like me. Or maybe, I just feel compelled to insert some of myself into them. After all, who do I know better than myself? But one thread running through all of my heroines is that they cook. Every work-in-progress, my published novel, all have a heroine who cooks. In Fairest of the Faire, Connie makes a mean buckwheat pancake. In Second Chances, my terrible self-published novel, Genevieve runs a bed and breakfast. The entire story is sprinkled with her cooking. In my current WIP, my heroine cooks some plum-braised pork chops, and uses her own canned peaches to flavor her fresh-simmered steel-cut oats. The historical novel I’ve been piddling with for the last ten years has a heroine who spend all of her time in the kitchen on an Italian estate. Another WIP that I drag out and work on once in a while woos the hero with a home-cooked Italian meal, even though she has spent much of her adult life traveling the country in an RV as a freelance photographer.
It’s all about the food.
Maybe it’s because I’m fluffy. Maybe it’s because I like to cook. Maybe it’s because I like food. Maybe it’s a result of my generation, where women did cook, and cooked a lot. Or more likely, it’s how I bring my heroine back to earth. It’s a way of making her “real” in a way. I often refer to my heroines as “sweet,” and my stories are sweet as well. So having a cooking heroine seems natural to me. Her appeal to most men would be pretty assured. At least in my mind.
I have read books that were sprinkled with recipes, or where the heroine was a caterer or baker, and there would be recipes at the back of the book that I could try myself. I always like these types of books. It’s like getting a bit more for your money. “Look! Free recipe!”
I know I don’t think about it consciously. It is just something that sort of happens. I am fascinated by recipes, never pass a facebook post with a recipe without clicking, and pick up used magazines from the free table at the library if they have a recipe on the cover. I love to cook, and spend a lot of time in my kitchen working with delicious ingredients. Maybe I missed my calling somehow. Maybe I should have become a television chef. The thought amuses me.
What down-to-earth things do you have your heroine do? Is the purpose to make her more “real,” more like a woman you would actually meet in real life? Do you talk about cooking in your novels? Let me know in the comments!